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SC issues notice to Facebook, WhatsApp over privacy policy

The apex court said that people's privacy must be protected in view of allegations that users' data is being shared with companies

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | February 15, 2021 | Updated 13:06 IST
SC issues notice to Facebook, WhatsApp over privacy policy

Supreme Court has issued notice to Facebook and WhatsApp over their privacy policy. The apex court said that people's privacy must be protected in view of allegations that users' data is being shared with companies.

The SC said that Indian citizens have grave apprehensions regarding the privacy policy introduced by WhatsApp. The court sought a response from the central government, Facebook and WhatApp in a plea regarding the policy.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that the tech giant might have deep coffers but it is their privacy that people value more than money. "You may be $2-3 trillion company but people's privacy is more valuable for them and it is our duty to protect their privacy," said the court.

Senior Counsel Shyam Divan said that there is no data protection law in India. "We are impressed by Mr. Divan's argument that it was proposed before us that a data protection law would be brought into force," said CJI Bobde.

The court was hearing an application that sought directions to be issued to WhatsApp not to lower privacy standards for Indian users and to apply same privacy policy as is applied in the European Union.

The petitioners contended that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp was in violation of the fundamental right to privacy of crores of Indian citizens who used WhatsApp on a daily basis. "There is no clarity on when the Data Protection legislation will be passed and brought into effect in India. In order to protect the rights of crores of citizens of India, till an appropriate regulatory regime is brought into existence by operation of law, it is imperative that this Hon'ble Court prohibits the operation of the new Privacy Policy sought to be made mandatory by WhatsApp," the application stated.

Two college students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi filed the application challenging WhatsApp's privacy policy.

Also read: WhatsApp privacy policy: 5% users exit app, 21% opt for alternate platforms

Also read: Sandes, India's answer to WhatsApp, being tested by govt officials: report

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